Fords serve as advisers to NFL commissioner during lockout

DETROIT -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn't above seeking a little advice as the lockout approaches its 10th week with no end in sight.

Goodell said Thursday that he leans on the Ford family, which owns the Detroit Lions, to draw on their labor-relations experience in the automobile industry.

"I speak to them frequently to take their experience and whatever they can offer to help us," Goodell said on a conference call with Lions season-ticket holders.

William Clay Ford has owned the Lions since 1964. The only surviving grandson of automotive pioneer Henry Ford worked for the family business for 57 years before retiring from its board of directors in 2005.

His son, Bill Ford Jr., is the executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. and vice chairman of the Lions.

The team's locked-out players have worked out this week at Detroit Country Day School and plan to return June 6 for another player-organized minicamp.

A 2-1 decision Monday by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will keep the lockout in place pending a full appeal, with a hearing scheduled for June 3 in St. Louis.

Goodell said key to reaching an agreement is collective bargaining, not litigation, which he has said numerous times in similar conference calls with ticket holders for about half of the NFL's teams.

Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said there's no reason to do that yet.

"Really, mediation is kind of pointless until the appeals process is over," Vanden Bosch said.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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